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Texaco

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  531 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Patrick Chamoiseau produces a mythic history of the Creole nation that arose from the forced marriage of French and African peoples in his native Martinique. The chief spokeswoman for that nation is the indomitable and profanely wise Marie-Sophie Laborieux, the founder of Texaco, a teeming shantytown poised on the edge of a city that constantly threatens to engulf it. Now ...more
Paperback, 497 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Gallimard Education (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jim
Jun 12, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction
This book is a rare tropical flower that somehow landed in my musty library. It speaks to us in many voices, as the original was written in a mélange of mulatto French and Martinican Creole. It communicates to us not only in two languages, but in four narrative voices, the main one being excerpted from the notebooks of one Marie-Sophie Labourieux, recording her own words and the thoughts of her father, Esternome. Three other voices are those of "Word Scratcher," alias Oiseau de Cham (a pun on Ch ...more
Marc Kozak
It would be so easy to compare this to Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. So I will.

This book is very similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude, in that it is a story of the creation of a small Martinican town as it struggles against the craziness of the world around it, and the craziness of the people in it. The story is bookended by an urban planner arriving in the small village, essentially deciding whether it should be razed for a shopping complex, or allowed to survive.
...more
Yvonne
Dec 29, 2008 Yvonne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was recommended this book after I communicated -- to the umpteenth person -- my then-fascination with Aime Cesaire. Having then just read of his passing, I realized that I had never read him closely when required to in college. I promptly purchased and reread "Discourse on Colonialism" which I interpreted as a surrealist manifesto constructing a 'black identity' in resistance to Western European colonialism and hegemony.

This novel takes place in Martinique, Cesaire's birthplace and home. It s
...more
Stephanie
Apr 28, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
What a mash-up of a story! By the time I got to the end, I'd completely forgotten that the book had started with the arrival of the city planner, and thus the ending came full circle. In order to tell the story of Texaco, the main narrator goes back to tell her father's story, which also tells the story of Martinique from that point forward. The book is a pleasure for anyone who: has read other Francophone Caribbean novels, doesn't need a purely linear plot line, and likes word play and creativi ...more
Julia
Aug 24, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: francais
I had the fortunate experience of reading this sur place: I first opened the cover in Saint-Pierre, Martinique. In Texaco, Chamoiseau recounts episodes of construction and demolition that shaped modern, betonized Martinique. This book might be an essential to understanding the development of Creolism, or at least to the recent history of Madinina. It's unwieldy and long, but deserving of a second read and close attention.
Gala
Jan 03, 2013 Gala rated it it was amazing
Un pur délice...poétique et mélancolique au cœur de Fort de France, un voyage intense...j'adore ce livre.

Regard poétique absolu sur l histoire de la Martinique à travers de l'histoire du quartier Texaco...
Jesse
Oct 16, 2008 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by Junot Diaz, who I met at Changing Hands. So far, so good. Thanks, Junot!
Andy Gagnon
Apr 03, 2010 Andy Gagnon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unreadable.
Margarida
Aug 16, 2012 Margarida rated it liked it
Esta obra de Patrick Chamoiseau, autor da Martinica, foca a criação de uma cidade em paralelo com o percurso de 3 gerações da mesma família, da escravidão até aos tempos actuais. A obra ganhou o prémio Goncourt em 1992.
Obra interessante pela visão poética da cultura das Antilhas, dos seus costumes, da evolução social e política, dos interesses dos habitantes pela "metrópole" França...
Leitura em francês difícil pela impressão de oralidade imposta pelos diálogos entre-cortados por crioulo.

"Texaco
...more
Andrea
May 30, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On n'entre pas très facilement dans l'univers de ce roman, mais une fois dedans on est enclin d'y rester un moment. Chamoiseau concocte son récit dans une langue si richement inventive, mélangeant les registres à sa façon, comme-ci , comme-ça, que ça donne forcément quelques passages difficiles à pénétrer. Patience; en se donnant un peu de peine pour se mettre dans le rythme, on est pleinement récompensé par ce récit foisonnant de l'âme antillais. Je ne dirais pas que ce roman atteint la perfect ...more
Dergrossest
This book probably gets a 5-star rating if you are from Martinique. But I am not from Martinique. And even if I was from Martinique, I would probably only give this 5-stars if I was black. Not white or mulatto, but maybe if I thought I was part Carib. Or if I was white or mulatto and felt sorry for my people being such bastards to the blacks for the last 300 years.

This story of the black experience in Martinique, from the slave ships, to the sugar plantations, to the Rights of Man, to "freedom,
...more
Dara Salley
This is the second novel I’ve read by an author from the Caribbean. The other novel was “The Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys, which is now one of my favorite books. This book had a slightly different point of view because Rhys was a white whereas Patrick Chamoiseau is black. The race distinctions are apparently very important in Martinique and both books spend a lot of time discussing their implications.

One of the things I loved about “The Wide Sargasso Sea” was the unusual language. The sentenc
...more
Ale Vergara
Jul 06, 2013 Ale Vergara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Tardé meses en la lectura. Creo que es un libro que pierde mucho en la traducción, sin embargo el despliegue y desarrollo del lenguaje son tales que incluso se alcanzan a notar en la edición en español. Texaco es una novela cercana al realismo mágico y no me sorprendería que haya quien la catalogue ahí a pesar de ser escrita tantos años después del boom. Creo que catalogar este libro como realismo mágico es caer un poco en la mirada exotizante que suele acompañar al término.

Durante la lectura n
...more
Robert R.
Aug 16, 2016 Robert R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rocked my world. Opened me to the Word, to being a maroon in City, to finding a different time, rhythm, song. To seeing complex layers of distress and injustice and admiring the dignity and courage of those who struggle. To admiring the Creole Matadora. To wanting to find respite and inspiration in the Doum. The style, thematic depth and the breathtaking narrative arc of this complex, rich and inventive novel are well worth the effort of seeking to conquer. They will be challenging to anyone. Bu ...more
Danizani
Sep 07, 2015 Danizani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Au début, j'ai cru que je n'arriverais jamais à le lire, à cause de la complexité de sa structure et de la difficulté de la langue (c'est écrit en un français très influencé par le créole et je ne suis pas francophone); j'ai donc relu plusieurs fois les premières pages, puis je l'ai délaissé. J'ai ensuite recommencé à le lire et je ne pouvais plus arrêter. Difficile de dire comment ça s'est passé : je suis entrée dans sa logique et dans cette épopée de misérables, qui a un charme tout particulie ...more
Tsitsi
Mar 10, 2010 Tsitsi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I taught this book a couple weeks ago in my class on cityscapes. We all found the stories of multiple generations of hard scrabble survival, the fruits of improvisatory genius, vivid and hard to put down. The translators do a laudable job of conveying the playful tug of war between Creole and French in the novel. I found it funnier in the French original, but it is a treat either way. I would say, however, that there are a LOT of characters, and it helps to keep a running log of their names etc.
Cindi
Sep 22, 2009 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Reading "Texaco" is like taking a walk along the ocean. Sometimes the reader walks along a sandy beach and the gentle waves lap against bare toes. However, most of "Texaco" is similar to climbing the giant, jagged rocks along the coast while the violent waves crash around you. It's worth the work for once you climb the rocks you find the tidal pools full of treasure.

Poetry. Aching, haunting poetry. Completely fascinating.
Christian
Texaco strikes me as an interesting and cleverly written novel. I like the concept of trying to convey an oral history. But for the life of me, I just couldn't get much enjoyment out of it. Too dense. Too bleak. Not that I mind putting in a bit of work, but I didn't get enough out of this to justify the effort.
Some experience of Martinique, or at least a better grasp of the history, would probably have made my view a little more positive.
Jonfaith
May 04, 2011 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This jewel was found in an Oxfam in Reading during the winter of 2004. Fuzzy strands of reviews past crackled in my dozy brain as I hefted it. The hunch proved correct and I was overwhelmed.

I have since bought another of his texts but have yet to take the plunge. Perhaps a reread of Texaco is due?
Alicia
May 19, 2013 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Issues of place and mapping, and displacement, are really interesting in this postmodern/identity-obsessed world. I wrote a paper about this in grad school, so per usual, it has a special place in my heart. But the layers of mapping, naming, travel, discomfort, home, and identity in this book really are intricate and fun to uncover. The prose itself is comfortable, smooth, and a delight to read.
Janet
Feb 25, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The life of a slum in Port au Prince, Haiti--you come to see it the way the residents see it, not as a hellhole, but as home, a place of dream and possibility. Chamoiseau's main thrust is in the tension of language and its implications, between the spoken Creole of the people and written, official, colonial French. This guy will win the Nobel someday. You heard it here first.
Anna
Apr 02, 2007 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is _one hundred years of solitude_ in the caribbean--mostly based on the history of the island of Martinique. The book was originally written in French creole. Even the English translation is a complete reinvention of the language where the rhythms and idioms of the spoken word force the text into brand new tricks and configurations.

part of my post-colonial all-stars collection
Rachel
Jul 17, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This convoluted maze of a novel, assigned for a class(obvio-po) is truly lovely. Set in Port-Au-Prince, it attempts in novel form to convey the complex creole being of the community. This experiment in linguistic and narrative possibility reads like surreal apocrypha. No small feat to attempt this one, but it will pull you in through inventive language and lovely prose.
Juliet Wilson
Oct 11, 2009 Juliet Wilson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This is a big ambitious novel following the lives of people living in the poorer areas of Fort-de-France in Martinique. It is a novel full of life and inventiveness and insight into the history of the area, including the suburb of Texaco that starts as a squatters settlement on the land owned by the oil company. It's fascinating and engrossing.
Mateo
Jul 23, 2008 Mateo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At one time, this was the author I was going to write my PhD dissertation on. This book won the Prix Goncourt (greatest annual literary prize in France), and changed my life. It's about the history of Martinique from a modern perspective.

Chamoiseau is a great story teller. Maybe someday I'll finish that dissertation...
Jeremy Sabol
the francophone melville! ok, i don't really mean all what that might mean. but chamoiseau totally reinvents french, in a joyous, rabelaisian (sp?) way that nicely complements his themes ... damned good book that doesn't seem to have made any splash in its translation - maybe it didn't translate well? out of print, i think - a tragedy!
Meredith
Nov 08, 2007 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a must-read for anyone interested in thinking about language's relationship to fiction. it also challenges the ways that storytelling is done int he west, as it blends character and situation in a totally seamless way.
Erin
Mar 29, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Quintan Wikswo
Chamoiseau breaks all the rules in this lush, epic masterpiece. The point of view shifts. He does not wane minimal. The people living in Martinique are depicted in all their complexity, through the ravages of nature and Western development.

Lara
Sep 02, 2009 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get through this. It's written in a very distant tense- to evoke an oral storytelling tradition, I think. I felt like I was reading through the wrong end of a telescope, if that makes any sense, and I never wanted to pick it up to read it so I gave up after 150 pages or so.
Steve
Aug 15, 2015 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mid 1. Though the premise of fictionalising the history of Martinique through the travails of one family was admirable, the style of the author's prose served to thoroughly undermine reading pleasure.
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Patrick Chamoiseau is a French author from Martinique known for his work in the créolité movement.

Chamoiseau was born on December 3, 1953 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, where he currently resides. After he studied law in Paris he returned to Martinique inspired by Édouard Glissant to take a close interest in Creole culture. Chamoiseau is the author of a historical work on the Antilles under the re
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